Monday, June 7, 2010

How to Become a Runner

O My Soul:

I'm looking back at my running logs from two and three years ago. I want to start running like I was two years ago. A spring and fall half-marathon. A few 5K's.

I know how I left running. The question is how did I ever start in the first place. Here are a few lessons I've learned.

1. Start moving more. Do anything to get off the couch or out of bed. Mow the lawn. Walk the dog. Take the steps instead of the elevator. Once I get moving I enjoy moving.

2. Buy a pedometer and walk 10,000 steps per day. Every step counts. The walk from my desk to the coffee pot. Anything and everything counts. Just get to 10,000 steps. It's just far enough that I have to plan a short walk. The hard part is not walking 10,000 steps. The hard part is walking it again tomorrow. However, after two weeks of 10,000 steps every day I begin to sleep better.

3. Buy a good pair of shoes. I love my ASIC gels but there are many, many kinds to choose. My only advice is that you buy a good pair of running shoes ($75+) and not a cheap tennis shoe. If you don't listen to me you will listen to the inevitable pain of shin splints.

4. Buy a heart rate monitor. I can not stress this one enough. Why do people quit running? People quit running because they run too fast for their physical fitness. I set the heart rate monitor to beep when my heart rate gets lower than 116 beats per minute and greater than 132 beats per minute. As my fitness increases, my speed increases, and all the time my heat rate is the same. So don't go crazy about how fast you are running.

5. Transfer some walking steps to a slow running pace. The pace of a fast walk is about the same for a slow run, but you will work harder at the run. What is the difference between walking and running? While walking you always have one foot on the ground, whereas, while running you will have both feet off the ground for a moment in each stride. So, run for 30 seconds for every 2 minutes on your walk and work up from there. Your patience will reward you in spades.

6. Rest. The most important part of running is not the run but the recovery. Add an extra hour for sleep and you ought to be ready to run again in 24 to 48 hours. Maybe a little longer. If it is much longer you are running to fast or...too long. Scale back a bit. Your body will respond much faster than you may think and it really is enjoyable if you remain in your fitness level.

7. Sign up for a 5K. A 5K is 3.1 miles and you can walk that far in one hour. Sure, there is going to be some kid who runs it in 15 minutes. But so many people are there to have fun, talk about their running, have a picnic with family and friends. It is a social event. Have fun.

These are a few things I've learned about walking, running, and socializing which are also great anit-depressants. And good for the soul.

Hope in Christ &
God be with you


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